Bridebook has landed

Bridebook

A few weeks back I was thrilled to be invited to the launch of a real innovation within the wedding industry, set in the super gorgeous library at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. Now as I am sure you know, there are lot’s of boring spreadsheets and planners that can help us break down the a-z, but Bridebook offers something completely different – because it helps makes wedding planning fun! And super inspirational too. Visually you just want to delve right in and get stuck into the planning, which for most will be a first! And on top of that, there is a serious amount of expert advice from some of the best in the business including: Mary Berry, George Clooney’s wedding stationer and Kate Moss’s wedding stylist. I totally adore the look and feel of this site which I suspect, is going to start a bit of a revolution in the wedding business…

Bridebook The Wedding Fairy

Described as the World’s first virtual wedding planner, this state-of-the-art toolkit allows you to plan your entire wedding in one place…. or your wedding planner a la wedding fairy of course! Welcome to the ‘world wide wed’ – how great is their catchphrase?! Only wish I could take the credit for it. The live wedding ‘dashboard’ also gives real-time updates, guidance on the planning process and what to tackle next. Perfect!

Bridebook Brunch 119 (1)

Bridebook founder Hamish Shephard (who I am pictured with above) says about the new wedding planning site, ‘We believe everyone deserves a wedding planner. Whatever your budget, Brideboook is completely personalised for you. We are transforming the whole wedding planning process into an incredible journey of inspiration, discovery and creativity.’

Here here I say! And I am sure you’re wedding fairy will be contributing a few pearl’s of wisdom to the site real soon too…

For more on Bridebook, why not visit the site, register and discover just how easy this fabulous new service is for yourself.

Professional head shots and pic below by The Springles

 

Bridebook Brunch 010

Pre Wedding Celebrations!

Outside The View from the Shard London

Preparing for ascent!
The Wedding Fairy enjoys a pre wedding celebration…

Planning a wedding (minus a wedding fairy!) can be a little daunting and stressful at times – even for the most organised of couples – primarily because it’s designed to be a once in a lifetime experience and as such, one is simply learning on the job as they say! And this is exactly why I always advise couples to book in some fun times pre wedding as a way of escaping the ‘W’ word, whilst also enjoying a bit of ‘you’ time together. Talk of floral centre-pieces, table seating plans and even the first dance is strictly prohibited! This is a chance to relax, unwind and enjoy each others company… so, earlier this month, I decided to road test one such adventure courtesy of buyagift.co.uk by climbing The Shard and enjoying a sumptuous meal at Del Mercato in London with my pal Sinead.

 View from the shard selfieObligatory View from the Shard Selfie moment!

Amusingly, both myself and Sinead are not the best with heights, so minus a glass of prosecco in hands, this was always going to prove a challenge… luckily, the bar was our first discovery on arrival :-)

Bar at the view from the Shard

Nerves in check, we decided to grab the bull by the horns as they say and face our fears! And I have to say, Western Europe’s tallest building did not disappoint, with views stretching over 40 miles of arguably, the greatest view in the World – London.

View from the shard

After conquering our fears, we decided to adventure to the top level platform and although a little dizzy on our feet, we were both blown away by the spectacular views and how small everything down below looked. Check out London Bridge – tiny! It was like watching a toy train set whizz around below your feet as trains departed Waterloo station, whilst the planes above were so close you felt like you could touch them. Simply incredible.

London Bridge from the Shard

And here I am ‘striking a pose’… with some lovely views thrown in too!

Views from the shard 2015

 

Next up, we took a short walk over to the very lovely Borough Market to enjoy a #sensational dinner at the Michelin Starred restaurant Del Mercato. The bubbles flowed and the food, well, it really was a menu to remember as Greg Wallace or John Torode might say!  Let me tempt you with our delicious asparagus and carpaccio based starters that were to die for…

Del Mercato Borough
And the main wasn’t half bad too! Who am I kidding, it was heaven and something a little different… beautifully cooked monk fish on one side, with a delish chicken mozzarella treat on the other. But for me, the proof is always in the pudding :-)

Puddings at Del Mercato
An evening I certainly will not forget in a hurry, in fact wedding or no wedding, we should all take time out to indulge in something a little special every now and then and for me, this one ticked all the right boxes!

Del Mercato menu
To book, or find out more about this incredible experience from buyagift.co.uk simply click here!

buyagift logo
Borough Market selfie
The obligatory end of night selfie of course!

Top 5 wedding planning tips

Top five wedding planning tips

Top 5 wedding planning tips!
The most important things you need to know when plan a wedding

Once the question has been popped and you start getting down to the wedding day detail, it certainly can feel a little daunting at first, but fear not, your wedding fairy is here with a rundown on all the fundamentals needed, to get you going on your big day prep – hassle free…

Here’s my top five quick-fix wedding planning tips…

Money talks!
How much cash have you got to splash?! Calculate a running total and break down the costs for each element of your big day. Take out 10% of your overall budget to act as an emergency fund for any costs that may crop up along the way or, to top-up cash allocation for specific elements such as the cake and flowers.

Big Day Bible
An essential bit of kit for any wedding planner to be, The Big Day Bible is your personalised a-z checklist of what to do and when. From securing the venue to selecting the dress, a concise countdown of jobs-to-do, is a total must-have piece of kit for anyone planning a big day celebration. Investing time in this plan right from the off, guarantees to ease your overall journey to the aisle of love, whilst at the same time ensuring you have everything effectively in place ready for the wedding itself – without stress levels reaching boiling point. Check out weddingsite.co.uk – a brilliant online resource for managing your big day effectively.

Get in the mood – for romance…
Every wedding needs a clear style or theme to bind the celebration together and knowing where to start can be a challenging task. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but the best approach is to start with a blank canvas, so you can build a unique picture of your celebration organically. Do not stifle your creativity with too many set ideas right from the beginning, start with an open mind and see what evolves. The true genius of a person is often bubbling subconsciously… here’s what to do:

Spend an afternoon grabbing a ton of wedding, food, home design and celebrity magazines highlighting your favourite dresses, interiors, menus and hairstyles. Rip out the pages you love and pop on a big board to create a montage of imagery. This we know in the business as a mood board, which you can then use to identify your favourite themes, styles and colour-ways to slowly build an overall concept for the wedding. This mood board is also really handy for taking to supplier sessions – especially the cake maker and florist, to inspire and steer their creativity.

And for those who prefer a more modern approach, remember www.pinterest.com is now one of the world’s number one online sites to pick up inspirational wedding ideas. Build yourself a digital board via an Ipad or similar device and use this to take along to supplier sessions. Many of the National wedding magazines also have Pinterest boards now, so it’s definitely a great place to start getting those creative juices flowing!

THE DRESS
For many brides-to-be this is where the pressure really kicks in – unearthing the one! And I am not talking about your man! The hunt for a dream dress can often be a stressful affair and knowing where to start can be just as bad. Heading straight to your local bridal store can sometimes be a bit of a gamble and often means you settle without fully investigating all options. So, before commencing all that legwork, why not start on the sofa and check out my four fabulous online finds to get an idea of what might work for you. Yes, these little nuggets of gorgeousness are buzzing with bridal fashion, direct from the coolest catwalks on the planet and offer a stunning array of glitzy artisan accessories that you just won’t find on any standard high street. We are talking A-list here people, but not necessarily with the A-list price tag! These little black books of fashion heaven are teaming with originality and are updated hourly to ensure you are kept abreast of what’s hot and happening – literally as it happens!  Here’s my official run-down Ladies:

www.lovemydress.net  – I just adore this site for sourcing super sassy accessories and discovering new designers most of us would never hear of otherwise!

www.weddinggowntown.com/blog – From Vera Wang to Valentino, if it’s on the catwalk it’s in wedding-gown-town! I love this blog for identifying new trends and pointing out upcoming styles for the season ahead.

www.bridechic.blogspot.com  – A joyous homage to bridal fashion, with Bride Chic we also get some really fantastic out-of-the-box ideas and distinct styling themes – ideal if you are looking for a strong non-traditional big day look.

www.lovelybride.com/blog  – And finally with Lovely Bride we uncover some edgy classics alongside a wonderful mix of real life weddings – perfect for seeing how a dress truly comes to life on the day itself.

The Venue

Whether you are looking for city chic or a rural retreat, there really is something for everyone. I always advise every couple I meet to choose a space with character that represents their unique relationship and personalities. Now for some, this can be quite extreme.  Getting hitched down a coal mine or on the wings of an aeroplane is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly is unique! For most of us though, the day itself is about cementing a union between two people and the venue of choice should represent that union. Wow, I am getting quite teary already!

Ok, so where do we start? Well, generally the geographical location is the best place to begin. Once this has been decided you can work with the venues located in that area. Even if you have an ideal place in mind, I always advise to view at least 5 other spaces to spark ideas and inspire you both.  The amount of people that have a venue in mind and then choose another is incredible so make sure you don’t limit the possibilities.

During the first viewing make sure you go as a couple to ‘feel the space’ and probe the wedding co-ordinator for all the info you require including: menu options, wedding packages available and on-site accommodation. Try to get a real feel, as to how the day itself will unfold. Make a list of questions beforehand and do not be afraid to ask. It is their job to make your day a reality. If you are concerned about the costs involved, tell them and see what they can offer. Summer bbq’s or sharing foods, such as home-made pizzas with all the relevant accompaniments, are all the rage at the moment and can often be much lighter on the budget than a traditional evening buffet. A great coordinator generally has a solution, but of course you must be realistic!

Selecting a wedding venue is a bit like buying a house for the day. Make sure you ask lots of questions and trust your gut feeling. Sometimes if it just feels right then that is the venue for you! And if you are not sure, book a menu tasting session in the restaurant. Some venues offer this as a complementary service once booked, but don’t take it as red – some don’t. And if you want/need input from others or need some re-assurance then feel free to take key family members or friends on the second visit.

And finally, once the decision has been made, make sure you put some thought into the actual day itself. Don’t just let the wedding coordinator put together a generic day for you. Ensure you add those personal little touches and have some fun! Maybe you want to create your very own ‘wedding breakfast cocktail’ or invent a pudding in honour of your new surname! Whatever you do, remember my three p’s ‘personalise, personalise and personalise some more’ oh and enjoy every second!

 

Proposal Expert

Wedding Planning Book

For more ideas, tips, inspiration and a complete rundown on planning a wedding, check out my wedding planning book -
BIG DAY BREAKDOWN!

How to plan the perfect hen party!

In collaboration with GoHen.Com

The shots of tequila are fully loaded, the party regalia has been packed and is good to go, the stag is bracing himself for the messy road ahead while the hen is already paralytic courtesy of those cheeky Jaeger bombs on mass pre take-off… turns out that last shot may have been a bad idea! Yes the wagon with the troops is ready to rock n roll out the local NCP car park for a weekend of hedonistic mayhem but, the event logistics of what, where, when and how are all still a little bit fuzzy. Did anyone remember to print the hotel reservations? Does anyone have directions?! Infact has anyone even thought about what to do when we get there?  Yes ladies and gents welcome to the chaotic world of a classic stag n hen weekend. A haze of drunken drama that often leaves the bride-to-be in tears and the groom-to-be in A&E.  What is supposed to be the biggest weekend of their lives can quickly turn into a hideous nightmare or worse still an unmemorable nightmare if the party is not properly prepped pre lift-off. When it comes to the stag and hen party, spontaneity is just too big a risk to take and this is where your Wedding Fairy steps in with a few pearls of wisdom to set you off on the road ahead. Ultimately of course you have made the right decision turning to my friends at goweekend.com to help you plan out said adventure but, in conjunction with their super fabulous skills, I am going to run over some pre-planning tips to ease the road ahead and ensure your celebration goes with that all important bang as they say!

get yourself a planner!

Right so where do we start? Well, if you are the stag or hen-to-be reading this rundown your first priority is to bag yourself a party planner a-sap. Now this could be the best man or maid of honour but, in most cases it is more sensible to select the friend or family member that thrives on planning people – we all have one! Yes this is about picking the best man or woman for the job at hand – who would Sir Alan go for? If they get turned on by excel spreadsheet formulas and tally weekly spending costs to stay ahead of their allocated budget – book em! After all this is the person you will hand the keys of responsibility for putting together your last weekend of freedom so choose wisely… once that vital decision has been made – or if you are indeed the chosen one, we can of course move forward.

what, where, when!

So next step for the organiser is to start thinking about the what, where, why and when! What makes our bride or groom-to-be tick? Are they action adventure types or more about heading for a tipple in the country? Do they want a full on party packed weekend or maybe a few light daytime activities mixed in too? It’s essential to consider the likes and dislikes of our individual stag n hen, otherwise the whole thing will be a total disappointment and at the end of the day we do want to make sure this event is utterly spectacular for them. Think about all their interests and hobbies that you could also integrate into proceedings. Is fancy dress a total turn on or turn off? Are they hardcore adrenaline junkies? Maybe a light sports based activity is more their addiction? Use individual personality traits as a starting point for planning the entire event – DON’T just go with what you fancy doing! Ok, so we need to throw in a few twists and turns along the way to spice things up, but don’t make this celebration a total nightmare for them – take note boys!

At this junction and for inspirational purposes, I feel it best to highlight some of our top party packages for both stag and hen celebrations here in the UK and abroad…  there is literally something for all tastes and desires with this little lot!

Visit gohen.com or stagweb.co.uk for a mix of sensational ideas.

Now the research is really under way, you can seriously start putting some ideas together and mash-up the itinerary. Pick your favourite four packages at varying budget points and organise a summit meeting with some of the team to choose a winner. Where possible include a good mix of invitees to the selection process to ensure the entire pack is happy with your plans. I know you always get one moaner that will disagree, but hey majority rules! And if that doesn’t work remember you are the final decision maker. Do not go into this first meeting cold otherwise you will all just end up going round and round in circles discussing a million potential ideas without any decisions actually being made. Bite the bull by the horns and pitch what you believe will work.

budgets

This is also an ideal opportunity to discuss costs per head and the budget in general. How much cash have peeps got to splash? In my experience everyone understands a stag or hen party is going to cost them at least a few hundred quid so the more notice you can give the better. Remember, majority rules. No-one can ever disagree with democracy. As long as this whole process is inclusive none of the team can complain. As a general rule, once the final decision has been made, simply advise the groom or bride-to-be the total event cost so they can make a payment to you directly without having to reveal all your plans. It is not necessary for the group to cover all groom or bride-to-be expenses unless this has already been agreed.

keeping the group in order

Set up a facebook page right from the beginning of this process to keep everyone updated and interacting leading up to the event itself. This is also a great way for you to introduce all those that have not met each other before.  If you have enough time and are super organised, set up a monthly payment scheme so attendees can pay a fixed monthly sum into your account pre-booking. This always makes the financial impact much easier to handle. With goweekend.com packages, only a deposit is needed initially – the balance is paid off 5 weeks prior to the holiday. Remember to also add-in a budget per head for the evening’s entertainment and by that I mean a kitty for the alcoholic beverages. If it’s £30 per head per night attach this to the monthly payment scheme or allocate as a separate one off cost. Don’t forget to also include the stag or hens alcohol allocation which is generally covered by the team as well. A stag and hen must never buy a drink if tradition rules!  I always recommend organising a kitty primarily so the first night doesn’t wipe out everyone’s entire bank account – leaving the next day as one messy hysterical hangover, and secondly so you can monitor the alcoholic intake of said stag or hen. If they are in a hideous state after day one they will only lounge around in bed all day which is no good to man or beast!

Once the package has been decided, the payment plan is in place and the alcoholic spend per head has been confirmed, we are good to go on planning the biggest weekend of your lives! Finally remember to issue a countdown checklist via email to each guest detailing fancy dress requirements and any specific party regalia they may require to complete said stag n hen challenges along the way.

The drinking games and party regalia is of course another story… Enjoy the journey!

Drink Aware – Always drink responsibly!

How to plan the perfect hen party in collaboration with gohen.com

Wedding planning book

So excited to preview this lovely little snippet featuring my new ‘wedding planning book’ – 60 Minute Countdown to the perfect wedding in the very fabulous County Weddings Magazine…